Congregation Kol Ami’s mission statement focuses on a commitment to creating and maintaining an intimate and involved Jewish community where spiritual growth, tradition, ritual, education, and learning provide meaning and comfort for our children, our families, and each other, and where one’s presence is valued and one’s absence is felt. Our values tell us we need to always be mindful of creating opportunities for engagement and inclusivity instead of barriers.
For these reasons, encouraging commitment and eliminating barriers to joining, in 2021 we transformed our traditional dues model based on household demographics like age, income, and family status, to a new membership pledge model. Now, each member household joins by making a financial pledge of support in an amount consistent with the value they place on our congregation and after consideration of the needs of the synagogue and their personal financial circumstances.
How does our membership pledge model work? Each year’s operating budget is determined based on the synagogue’s expenses for the coming year, including religious school, clergy and other staff, special programs, as well as rental expenses. This total expense budget is divided by the expected number of member households to determine the “sustaining amount” that each member could pledge to eliminate a budget shortfall. In the interest of transparency, this “sustaining amount” is shared with our members before they make their annual pledges.
We understand that the annual sustaining amount is beyond the means for some of our members, although others who are able will pledge the sustaining amount or even more. As a fair share synagogue we only ask that you give what you can, pledging an amount that factors in (1) the value you place on our congregation, (2) the synagogue’s needs, and (3) your personal financial circumstances.
We feel grateful for all pledges, and we are proud of our membership pledge model which is not dependent on the payment of fixed dues and has eliminated the old intrusive dues relief process.
We want to encourage you to enjoy all the benefits of membership in Congregation Kol Ami. We would love to talk with you about how you can become part of our community. For more information about upcoming Shabbat services and events or membership in Congregation Kol Ami, email us or call Executive Director Elaine Stevens at 215-635-3110.
What is included in the operating expense used to calculate the “sustaining amount”?
The following items are included:
• Congregational Dues
• Building-related Fees (as applicable)
• Religious School tuition and fees
• Operational Fees
• High Holy Day member tickets
The following items are excluded:
• Fundraising campaigns
• B’nai Mitzvah Fees
• Individual donations to specific funds (i.e., Rabbi’s discretionary, Synagogue fund, etc.)
• Programs run out of our space (i.e., CSA)
• High Holy Day tickets for guest of the congregation (when applicable)